Problem Differentiation

  • James S. McCormick


Health care problems in family practice are often both undifferentiated and beyond the boundaries of physical disease. Problem definition requires an initial broad categorization; for example, failure to appreciate that the patient’s reason for seeking help is anxiety about the nature of pain rather than its intensity may lead the physician down the wrong diagnostic path. Most of the common reasons for which patients consult physicians can be found among the following categories:1,2
  • Pain or malaise

  • Anxiety about the meaning of pain or other symptoms

  • Problems with living

  • The need to legitimate sick-role behavior

  • The prevention of disease


Direct Advice Routine Immuni Role Behavior Young Adult Woman Health Care Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    McWhinney IR: An approach to the integration of behavioral science and clinical medicine. N Engl Med 287: 284–287, 1972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    McCormick JS: The Doctor: Father Figure or Plumber. London, Croom Helm, 1979.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Crombie DL: The diagnostic process. J Roy Coll Gen Pract 6: 579–589, 1963.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Crombie DL: Diagnostic methods of practitioners. Practitioner 191: 539–545, 1963.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    McWhinney IR: Problem solving and decision making in primary medical care. Proc Roy Soc Med 65: 934–938, 1972.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cartwright A: Patients and Their Doctors. London, Rout-Burr ledge and Kegan Paul, 1967.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brown, GW, Ni Brolchain MN, Harris T: Social class and psychiatric disturbance among women in an urban population. Sociology 9: 252–254, 1975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Byrne PS, Long BEL: Doctors Talking to Patients. London, HMSO, 1976.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Royal College of General Practice: The future general practitioner: learning and teaching. London, Br Med J, 1972.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • James S. McCormick

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations